Had some stunning paradigm shifts about forgiveness lately. They are life changing concepts. Hope you will find them inspiring too……
While he was in the mosque with his followers, prophet Muhammad (PBUH) once remarked- “The next man coming in, has attained paradise”. All the followers waited with bated breath and were quite surprised when a very low profile man from the town came in and sat down. Their surprise grew into intense curiosity, when the same incident happened a couple of times as well. They all had one question in their minds- “What in the name of god was making this man so special ?”.
One of the followers formed a plan. He went to the house of the one who was promised paradise and requested permission to stay with him for a few days. In line with the famous Muslim hospitality, the man welcomed him in with open hands. The spy stayed with his host, intently observing and analyzing. He was however increasingly puzzled because his host wasn’t doing anything extraordinary. He was merely following the obligatory rites prescribed for the believers. Finally, after his curiosity overtook his caution, the guest opened up and explained the true reasons for his actions. He also enquired- “Please tell me: what on earth you do differently to be promised a coveted place in paradise ? ”. The host was equally puzzled. He racked his brains and came up with his answer. “Before I go to sleep each night, I tell god that I have forgiven all those who have hurt me. Then I remember him as the ultimate forgiver and beseech him to forgive my sins. This is all that I do differently”
Now this is an amazing anecdote. Quite logical as well. If we don’t forgive those who have hurt us and don’t wash away the animosities that we have, how can we even dare to ask god for forgiveness ? . How can we expect to have our records cleaned, when we carry along with us even the smallest slights that we have been inflicted with?
So let this become a habit. Let us include statements of forgiveness in our prayers. And let us wait for the tides of blessings to wash us over…..
Another good way to cleanse our hearts off the resentments built up, would be to sincerely pray for the well being of all those who are estranged. Let us pray for their good health , prosperity and success. I tried it last night and trust me, it has a very soothing effect. Hope our positive thoughts about them will also travel across the universe and influence their minds , drawing them closer to us till all broken ties are mended for good.
In the meantime, let us also remind ourselves that forgiving doesn’t always have to be accompanied by forgetting. The prophet says that we have to repeatedly assume that the ones who hurt us had only the best intentions. He recommended that we do that even up to 70 times. This will surely help us to defeat our biases and prejudices. But he also says that a believer will not be bitten by a snake from the same hole twice.
So let us go ahead and forgive the snake. Let us also repeatedly tell ourselves that the world truly has good intentions, but let us also be alert to the possibility of being bitten again…
It’s a tough balancing act…. All the very best.